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Post 0

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 6:02amSanction this postReply
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While one doesn't have a responsibility to associate themselves with anyone they choose not to, there is a benefit in maintaining good relationships with people in general and in the work place. The only time I have restricted having friendships with people I work with is when I am in a management position. One of the aspects I enjoy about working in the position I do now, as a regular employee is that I can get to know the people I work with, and I do go out with them to have drinks every once in a while. They are not objectivists, although I can discuss philosophy with them and they even think the way I live my life is "cool." I have found that while they may disagree with me, they are still interested in learning more about my sense of life. Of course, there are a couple of people who disagree with me and with them I am courteous and professional. The article bothers me because it seems to give a negative view of relationships with people in the work environment. One of the issues that does disturb me a bit since becoming more involved with objectivist sites is that there seems to be this attitude among a few that if people have differing views then they should be dismissed. I agree I have a difficult time being around people who are fanatical about their beliefs especially if they have different values. However, I am also finding that if you can find something about the person that is interesting and you find a common ground then eventually perhaps you can introduce your sense of life in a way that they can see how you live, and are not simply bombarded with "this is how you should live if you want to be happy..."
You don't have any responsibility to hang out with your co-workers, you are correct. My point is that while it is not a responsibility of your job, getting to know the people you work with and maintaining good relationships perhaps would be beneficial.

Jen

Post 1

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 7:44amSanction this postReply
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Dear Matthew,

Thank you for your letter. While you are correct that you do not have to spend time with people you do not want to, Ms. Manners would encourage you to keep your mouth shut. When nosey co-workers begin to ask prying questions, rather then get defensive, as you letter suggests you did, you might want to just politely say that is none of their business what you do with your time off the clock. Anything else is rude and impolite, lowering you to the level of the nosey busybody.

You might want to invest in my books: Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior or Miss Manners Guide to the Turn-of-the-Millennium which deal with these many topics.

Ms. Manners

Post 2

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 9:07amSanction this postReply
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For your information, Ms. Manners, all I said to Ms. Grundy's face was, "What I do outside the office need not concern you".

On the other hand, I'm of the opinion that rude questions deserve rude answers. To quote Robert Heinlein: "Go to hell!" or other insult direct is all the answer a snoopy question rates. I happen to agree with him, but I understand that it's in my self-interest to refrain from answering snoopy questions by suggesting difficult acts of auto-eroticism.

Is that you, Joy? Or is it Anthony Teets trying to suggest that I give the rude more than they deserve by being polite to them?

Post 3

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 11:53amSanction this postReply
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Matthew, I'm with Jen - but more, and with the greatest of respect, don't be so miserable. Of course you are under no obligation to socialise with your workmates, however, when I used to have workmates (before self employment) I used to take the attitude that as I spent so much of my life at work, I might as well enjoy it as much as possible, which meant getting on with, and socialising with the people I worked with. It made work, and hence life, a much better place to be. Also, unless you socialise with them, at least once, then how do you know you don't like them? Indeed, how do you meet new people (face to face, not online) full stop ? I get the impression from your article that your co-workers are almost 'the enemy'.

So, here is my task for you. Go to the next after work event, get a little tipsy ... no, going my the 'tone'of your article, get drunk, then next morning, assess and see if you enjoyed it, or if it was such a bad thing.

We are humans, who need interaction, not machines :) Just my opinion.

(None of the above should be taken to mean that I like or agree with the nauseous notions of team bonding inflicted on employees by some organisations. Interaction must be voluntary, not governed by a yankee management guru trying to pull strings of their own invention :)

Post 4

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 4:59pmSanction this postReply
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Well, Mark, when I wrote this rant I had done so with the intention of making the point that your equals had no right to impose unwanted obligations on you. It would appear that I did a piss-poor job of stating my case, if the comments posted are any indication, but that's what I get for writing when royally pissed off.

For discretion's sake, I refrained from explaining the full context of my office environment (to say nothing of naming names). I've worked with these people for three years. I think that's sufficient time for me to decide that I don't particularly like most of my coworkers and actively despise a couple of them.

My idea of "getting on with" coworkers is simple: do my job and keep my distance. I'm not being paid to do anything but work, and if I'm to talk to anybody, it'll likely be with the other programmers and it will be shop talk. And I have one very good reason to refrain from engaging in chit-chat with the women in the office: their private lives are none of my friggin' business.

As for meeting people; I can do that on weekends or after work if I feel a pressing need to do so. Most of the time I feel no need at all to meet people. If I meet somebody and I happen to enjoy that person's company, fine. Humans need interaction; I'll agree with you on that point, but I think that the real question is how much interaction do individual humans need, and in what context?

Now, before I forget, your suggested task is a very bad idea. You see, I have two personalities when I'm drunk: maudlin and nasty. I strongly doubt that it'd be in my interest to get drunk around my coworkers.

Post 5

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 5:25pmSanction this postReply
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Fair enough Matthew.

Although, in relation to your last paragraph, if drinking does make you mauldlin and nasty, then that is definitely what you should do, just once, with the work crew. At least they might not be so keen to ask you out again :) Problem solved.

But maudlin and nasty ... sounds like a rum or spirits drunk to me. Have you ever tried getting drunk on just straight ... (bad choice of words) on just wine alone, probably red? If not, it could be an interesting experiment.

Post 6

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 6:18pmSanction this postReply
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I got nasty when I got drunk on whiskey. If I remember right, it was Jack Daniels I was drinking. Get me drunk on beer and I get maudlin. I don't drink much else, and tend to stay away from the beer 'n bourbon as well; booze tends to make me stupid, and if I wanted to be stupid I'd accept Christ as my destroyer.

Post 7

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 6:21pmSanction this postReply
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Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm a pretty cheap drunk (and a lightweight besides). So most of the better wines are out of the question unless somebody else is paying for the booze.

If I'm going to spend my own money on mind-altering substances, then I'd rather spend it on stimulants. Caffeine's still legal, but I bet I could get a lot done with a low dosage of crystal meth or cocaine.

Post 8

Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 8:49pmSanction this postReply
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Please no not delete my message agian - I had a valid point to make.

Post 9

Friday, February 21, 2003 - 2:27amSanction this postReply
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What message, 'm'?

Post 10

Friday, February 21, 2003 - 8:27pmSanction this postReply
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I'm with you on this one Matt. I go to work to work. Period. I don't like a lot of my colleagues and detest a few of them, and if I didn't work with them I'd have nothing to do with them. The ones I do like I occasionally see outside of work for a beer and a movie, but I'm not really interested in social clubs or the like. I go to farewell lunches if the person leaving is someone I like or respect as a colleague.

It's not just since becoming an Oist that I've been like this - I've always done my own thing.

-tony

Post 11

Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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I think if you put out the effort to be friendly you would probably have someone to share the positives and negatives of the work day. I know that, after seventeen years at the same job, my family get a blank stare on their face when I attempt to talk about my day. If I didn't have a "work friend" to share everything with, I might have to turn to a "mind-altering substance". (So far chocolate is my drug of choice.) I guess I need something to look forward to besides work to get me out of bed in the morning. I do stay out of the politics in the workplace and avoid the gossip clicks. But I also smile at one and all, even if I have reason to be angry at someone. I think a smile will confuse the heck out of the nasty people. It works great when someone flips you off. Forget getting drunk, just smile all the time. They won't get the joke.

Post 12

Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 1:21pmSanction this postReply
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Lona, it takes an effort on my part to smile; my lips curve towards a frown if left to themselves. Besides, because it takes effort to smile, I tend to save my smiles for people who earn them. Besides, Lona, I think you missed the point of my article: one's coworkers are one's equals (in terms of authority at least), and a person has no right to impose an unwanted obligation on his equal.

Mind you, I don't see work as the point of my life. Work is a means to an end; I work so that I can afford to live life in a way that brings me happiness. If I get a better offer from somebody else, then I'll give my employer a month's notice and offer to help train my replacement. But I see myself as a hired gun, rather than the sort who gives his loyalty to one employer.

Post 13

Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 1:24pmSanction this postReply
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I must be getting sloppy; I began two sentences in a row with 'besides'. Maybe I should lay off the Perl and go back to English for a while...

Post 14

Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 11:46amSanction this postReply
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Hi, Matthew. I see what you mean. I benefited from doing the work socializing while teaching in that I gleaned information that I would not have learned otherwise (not gossip, necessarily, but insights into people, situations and history that I did not know otherwise). However, I wouldn't stick around if I didn't like what I heard, and I never apologized for that (The coaching clique asking me if my gay male colleague -- a good friend -- "sucked dick" or not -- I asked why it was any of their business and went home.)
Fortunately, at my present job, my colleagues are a joy to socialize with.
I know this isn't a really timely post, but my Internet access has been reduced quite a bit. What I like about what you said, Matthew, is that no, there's no sense of obligation you should feel to chum with colleagues any more than people you meet in other circumstances. If anything, especially in drinking situations, I think people can do more harm in letting go of their professionalism. I never say or do anything that I wouldn't expect people to talk about on Monday

Post 15

Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 1:51amSanction this postReply
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I agree I do not tend to mix worklife with homelife, this doesn't mean that I refuse to socialise with co-workers but it is kept solely in the sphere of work. I would not want my girlfriend to meet my casual aqauitences from work for instance.

I think as individuals we have different personas, the boyfriend, the worker, the best mate and it's not always wise to blur these things. If only for the fact that if something goes wrong at work, it doesn't follow me home.

Post 16

Wednesday, November 8 - 3:54amSanction this postReply
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Another of the many fascinating past articles ...  I tend to agree with Matthew and that is the reason that I note the exceptions in my life over the years. I have met interesting people at work and have socialized after hours. As a member of the Texas State Guard, I was given the opportunity to be assigned as a long-term paid employee of the office of Domestic Operations for 13 months. My co-workers were National Guard and Air National Guard AGR: active guard reserve. I did not socialize with them, but with the other five TXSG who were chosen for this special duty. We were a selected elite -- even as one was dumb as a rock and another a compulsive clown. There was something perhaps ineffable about their dedication to their work, their earnestness, and willingness to do more than they were asked for. So, I benefited from time after work with them.  Working with computer people here or there, there might have been some of that now and then, but the last time that I remember well was back in 1991-1993, when I worked at Kawasaki Robotics and for a year we three American technical writers / trainers at that time formed a pretty tight cell at work and went out together several times.  

 

I guess the bottom line is: it all depends.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 11/08, 3:57am)



Post 17

Friday, November 10 - 10:28amSanction this postReply
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Don't shit where you eat.



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